Microsoft responds to Jim Ryan calling Game Pass 'destructive'
Ha, and you thought Game of Thrones was ugly. As two sides go to war, the green and blue banners are flying high over the gaming industry. While Nintendo sits and plays with its toys (riding on Tears of the Kingdom's success), Microsoft and Sony exchange blows like nobody's business.
Just when we thought everyone could get along nicely, Microsoft's attempted purchase of Activision Blizzard has lit a fire beneath the console wars. As the Federal Trade Commission gets involved and the likes of Phil Spencer and Jim Ryan are called to the stand, it's clear there's no love lost here.
Jim Ryan slams 'destructive' Game Pass
As part of the FTC hearing, Jim Ryan has been called forward to give a deposition on why he thinks the Activision Blizzard deal is a bad idea. Apart from grievances that the acquisition would give PlayStation's rival a potential leg up, Ryan claims he has genuine concerns about what this monopoly could do to the wider gaming sphere.
As reported by VGC, Ryan isn't a fan of a "destructive" Game Pass model. There have been questions about how the subscription service can make money back for publishers, especially when something as massive as Starfield will be a Day One release.
Starting his deposition, Ryan said, "The Game Pass business model appears to have some challenges, and Microsoft appears to be losing a lot of money on it." Expanding on what he really thinks, the PlayStation boss added, "I talked to all the publishers, and they unanimously do not like Game Pass because it is value destructive."
When Microsoft's lawyer reported asked, "You said you talked to all the publishers – did you?" Ryan responded, "I talk to publishers all the time, and this is a very commonly held view over many years by the publishers." The suggestion is that it isn't Ryan and his PlayStation pals who aren't a fan of Game Pass.
Microsoft fires back at Sony
Game Pass boasted subscriber figures of 25 million as of January 2022, although Ryan puts these impressive figures (dwarfing PS Plus) down to Microsoft overspending on the service. Still, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claims Game Pass users play 40% more games and spend 50% more than non-subscribers.
Vexed by Ryan's claims, a Microsoft spokesperson responded, "Microsoft wants to take gaming into the future by meeting gamers where they are across platforms, while Sony wants to protect its dominant position. That's why our leaders have shown up in person to testify about how this merger benefits gamers."
There's been a flurry of reveals from both Ryan and Spencer at the FTC hearing, including Microsoft's apparent attempts to acquire Bungie and SEGA, as well as Starfield nearly being a PlayStation exclusive - although Ryan says he's not fussed about it only being on Xbox.
It doesn't seem like the end is in sight yet, but with things getting more heated and both sides taking bruises, we'd be lying if we weren't living for the drama a little. It's more entertaining than your average soap opera.